EC wants central para-military forces at all Bihar polling

Muzaffarpur, Oct 19: The Election Commission on Monday asked its officials to ensure deployment of central para- military forces (CPMFs) at all polling stations in Bihar during the remaining phases of the Assembly polls to ensure free and fair voting.

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioners AK Joti and Om Prakash Rawat directed the district magistrates and superintendents of police to ensure deployment of CPMFs inside all polling stations.


"That would instil confidence among voters, especially those belonging to the weaker sections," Zaidi told reporters here after a review meeting along with the two other Election Commissioners.

CPMFs have already been deployed in the Naxalite-affected areas and would be further strengthened, he said.

On the second day of their Bihar visit, the Commission held meetings to review poll preparedness for the fourth and fifth phases of Bihar elections and expressed satisfaction with the arrangements, especially on the law and order front.

Zaidi said a large number of non-bailable warrants have been executed and more than 50 per cent of the licensed arms have been deposited with the authorities, which has helped ensure free and fair polling in the earlier phases.

He also praised the authorities for taking action in an unbiased manner in around 1,700 cases of violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The CEC said that Rs 38-39 crore has been seized in the state so far. Various teams have seized Rs 18 crore while Income Tax officials have seized Rs 18-19 crore of unaccounted for cash, which could be a 'hawala' transaction.

"However, I am still not satisfied (with expenditure monitoring)," he said. Stating that the EC has found negligible number of complaints in the preparation of electoral rolls, Zaidi said the voter turnout has increased this time due to distribution of voters' slip of up to 98 per cent and poll awareness campaigns.

There are three phases of voting remaining in the Bihar polls on October 28, November 1 and November 5. The counting of votes will be done on November 8.


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